How the media has changed in the last decade, from #MeToo to thousands of layoffs

Jeff Chiu/AP, Serial Facebook, Brendan McDermid/Reuters

The media industry has had several major shakeups since 2010 that saw publishers and staffers navigating new platforms. While some outlets suffered amid gambles like pivoting to video content, others flourished by employing podcasting or getting a slice of streaming-centric audiences. Amid the wave of allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, the media industry had its own reckoning with shakeups following sexual misconduct allegations against some of the most powerful and iconic figures of news and entertainment. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.The media industry went through massive, unprecedented changes in the last decade that left publishers and staffers alike stuck navigating a new world different platforms. Outlets struggled with the urge to stay on-trend, following trends like pivoting to video.By 2019, podcasts and streaming won audiences over across genres.See how the media has changed in the last 10 years. 

In 2010, Americans were spending more time online, and social networks like Facebook and Twitter became mainstays for staying up to date.

Facebook

Facebook’s News Feed and Twitter’s timeline were iconic features of the platforms that directly catered to keeping readers’ attention with content throughout the day on both desktop and mobile devices. In 2010, a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 61% of Americans get some of their news online, and CNN reported at the time that 75% of those surveyed said they got news from email or sites like Facebook and Twitter while 37% of people said they shared news on social media, indicating the rise of news as a point of social media participation. 

By 2014, Facebook was home to trending terms, hashtags, and pages belonging to news outlets that eventually permeated users’ news feeds.

British Prime Minister Theresa May takes part in a Question and Answer session on ITV news via their social media Facebook platform in central London on May 15, 2017.
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

The News Feed’s turn to embracing the news halfway through the decade created a taste among users to expect local, national, and international headlines to come to them on their home screen. By 2014, the Pew Center found that around 50% of people intake, share, and discuss news on Facebook. As people’s willingness to engage with news on social media rose, so did the pitfalls of consuming it, with the rise in prevalance of conspiracy theories and fake news.

Halfway through the decade, online outlets gambled with a huge turn to video.

This combination of images shows logos for companies from left, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Social media companies are failing to stop manipulated activity, according to a report Friday, Dec. 6, 2019 by NATO-affiliated researchers who said they were easily able to buy tens of thousands of likes, comments and views on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Most of the phony accounts and the activity they engaged in remained online weeks later, even after researchers at the NATO Strategic Command Centre of Excellence flagged it up as fake. (AP Photos/File)
Associated Press

By 2015, Facebook’s increasing preference for video content prompted a flashpoint in the industry where outlets were producing more content geared toward reaching audiences through the social platforms, including longform and live video. Multiple outlets, including Mic and Mashable, laid off scores of journalists to focus on video around 2017, but the effort couldn’t ultimately save the sites from future cuts. 

Since 2010, the rise of streaming platforms has led a large chunk of young adults to cut the cord and get online subscriptions.

The Netflix website seen displayed on a Apple MacBook Air computer monitor via the Google Play Store.
Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In 2015, CD sales raked in just $1.5 billion, a drop of 84% in 10 years, according to the New York Times. In 2016, streaming reportedly made up 34.3 % of music industry sales, with Spotify subscriptions, Pandora Internet radio, and YouTube videos totaling $2.4 billion.By 2019, streaming services racked up $4.3 billion in revenue, or 80% of the music industry’s total, and membership had grown by 31% within the year.Services including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video created a generation of binge-watchers that paid for subscriptions to devour original series from the platforms and enjoy old licensed classics.In 2010, Netflix had 15 million total subscribers. By 2019, it was just shy of 150 million. The streaming giant’s growth was mirrored by the smaller but still popular Hulu subscription, which had around 1.5 million subscribers one year after its 2010 launch and 25 million in 2018.By the end of the decade, the massive popularity, ease-of-access, and relatively inexpensive cost of streaming services had many customers considering cutting the cord, and forced cable companies to come up with cheaper, skinnier packages to compete with the services. 

Podcasting exploded as a digital storytelling medium that offered longform content.

Shutterstock

The term “podcast” was first coined by journalist Ben Hammersley in The Guardian in 2004, as digital music was rapidly developing.One early hit within the medium was the public-radio program This American Life, which launched in podcast form in 2006.However, as digital streaming platforms like Spotify became ubiquitous in the hands of potential listeners in the years after 2010, podcasts exploded to offer in-depth series that explored an entire world of topics, including politics, culture, and miscellaneous stories that gripped audiences.Serial, a series on a murder in Baltimore County in 1999 that debuted in 2014, was a smash hit of the decade when it hit more than 5 million downloads and streams from the Apple store alone, proving the power podcasts held to engage a massive audience with high-quality storytelling, even if it was a niche subject.

By 2019, podcasts became a key part of brand presence to develop audiences in technology, strategy, and retail.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Kerry Washington speak during Gwyneth Paltrow And Kerry Washington Host A Live Episode Of The goop Podcast with Banana Republic at Spring Place on September 19, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for goop

After the medium proved to be a hit, everyday enthusiasts had new avenues to make money through advertising and crowdfunding sites as the listener base steadily grew from 2013 to 2016, nearly doubling to 21% of Americans age 12 or older, according to the Pew Research Center. In addition to homegrown programming trying to get a slice of the growing listenership, new-media outlets like subscription-based newsletter The Skimm were quick to map out a sponsorship model based on its podcasts and found success around the time President Donald Trump took office in 2017. In addition to news-centric programming, brands like McDonald’s, GE, Sephora, and more engage audiences through series that feature everything from industry interviews to entertaining investigative-style stories. 

After allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood, the #MeToo movement hit the news indsutry.

CJ Rivera/Getty Images, Wesley Mann/FOX News via Getty Images, Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson triggered a massive media upheaval in July 2016 at Fox News when she claimed in a lawsuit that she was fired for refusing sexual advances from network head Roger Ailes, who left the two weeks after her allegation went public.In April 2017, a New York Times report found that Fox News had paid out settlements totaling $13 million to five women who had accused longtime anchor Bill O’Reilly of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse. O’Reilly denied the allegations, but the show bled advertisers before it was canceled weeks later.Elsewhere at the top networks, former NBC “Today” show host Matt Lauer was fired in 2017 after NBC said an employee accused him of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” amid a flurry of reports detailed other allegations of sexual misconduct, including making lewd comments to female colleagues, exposing himself, and using a security device to close women in his office with him.”CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose was fired by CBS and PBS in November 2017, one day after The Washington Post published a story that detailed allegations from multiple women who accused Rose of groping and other unwanted sexual advances.The revelations appeared to be long overdue, and provoked an array of criticism concerning the overall makeup of the industry.In October 2017, the “shitty media men” spreadsheet went viral, when women could anonymously post their experiences with various men in the industry. “What #MeToo Means for Corporate America,” a 2018 study by workplace thinktank the Center for Talent Innovation, found that about 41% of women in media and entertainment say they’ve been sexually harassed by a colleague or boss at some point in their careers, which Variety reported was the highest rate among white-collar industries.”In media, the power dynamics are more skewed than in other industries,” Ripa Rashid, a lead author of the study, told the outlet, adding that media’s relationship-driven nature and silos of money and power lend to abuse by powerful figures.

A lawsuit brought by wrestling figure Hulk Hogan set a new precedent for law facing online publications and led to the demise of Gawker, a notorious news and gossip site.

Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in court during his trial against Gawker Media at the Pinellas County Courthouse on March 8, 2016 in St Petersburg, Florida
John Pendygraft-Pool/Getty Images

The former professional wrestler sued when Gawker published a portion of a sex tape he appeared in, which the site says was mailed in by an anonymous source. A Florida jury awarded Hogan $140 million, which forced Gawker and owner Nick Denton into bankruptcy and sale at auction. In addition to killing the sometimes controversial site, the case raised questions about the parameters of press rights and celebrity privacy in the age of digital journalism. 

The local news industry continued to freefall.

Denver Post employee’s held a rally with the community and other local unions for fair contract negotiations and against continued staff reductions at the downtown newspaper. Similar actions took place at other Denver First Media owned papers across the country.June 17, 2016 Denver, CO.
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Circulation and ad sales of local news outlets had been in a gradual downfall since the 1990s, reportedly crumbling from $48 billion in 2000 to $16.5 billion in 2017.On top of the initial downfalls after free online news and classified ads had lured customers away from paying for local subscriptions, weakened outlets were left vulnerable to sweeping sales and gradual decimation, creating news deserts. One early example of vulnerable local media splintering under the pressure of the greater industry came in the form of Randall Smith, an investor who raised eyebrows early in the decade when he began snapping up regional outlets and entire newspaper companies before gutting newsroom staffs to keep a slim operation running. Those sales were a small part of the overall industry breakdown, as it was reported in 2019 that 2,000 papers had closed since 2004. After a $1.4 billion merger between Gannett and GateHouse Media was announced in August 2019, Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan wrote that the industry was in a full-on existential crisis and the massive merger was “one more step along that dire path.”

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